CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards

This award is sponsored jointly by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, a division of ProQuest Information and Learning.

The University of Cincinnati selects one student per category to nominate for the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award. Two awards are given annually in two of four different broad categories: Biological Sciences; Humanities and Fine Arts; Social Sciences; and Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering.

Upcoming Award Cycles (2021 and 2022)

The Graduate School is accepting nominations for the CGS (Council of Graduate Schools)/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award from programs, faculty and students. The students chosen by the Graduate School selection committee to represent UC in the CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award will each receive a $350 prize. Should either of the UC nominees win the national competition, the student will receive an award of $2000, plus reasonable travel expenses to attend the Council of Graduate Schools annual meeting. The Graduate School will nominate one student per category to the national competition.

Biological Sciences programs and Humanities / Fine Arts programs

The Graduate School may nominate one student from each category (biological sciences category and humanities/fine arts category) to represent UC in the 2021 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition. We request that you submit to us your best students who have graduated between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2021 (a two-year period).

Social Sciences programs and Mathematics / Physical Sciences / Engineering programs

The Graduate School may nominate one student from each category (social sciences category and mathematics/physical sciences/engineering category) to represent UC in the 2022 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition. Students who have graduated between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2022 (a two-year period) are eligible. We request that you prepare nominations now for any outstanding students who graduated this academic year, as the nomination packet must include an extended abstract (written by the student) and three letters of recommendation (written by the committee chair, a committee member and a third person of the student's choice).

Application Guidelines

The nomination application must include:

  • An abstract of the nominee’s dissertation (not to exceed 10 double-spaced pages). Appendices containing other materials, such as charts, tables, and/or references, may be included as additional pages (not to exceed five pages).  All pages should be numbered, and each should bear the name of the nominee.
  • Three letters of recommendation evaluating the significance and quality of the nominee's dissertation work should be included in the nomination materials. One of these letters should be from the nominee's dissertation supervisor; another from a member of the nominee's dissertation committee; and the third from a person of the nominee's choice.
  • The nominee's curriculum vitae (not to exceed five pages).

Nomination applications for biological sciences category and humanities/fine arts students will be due to Megan Tischner in the Graduate School by 5 p.m. on June 1, 2021. However, nomination packets may be submitted at any time prior to that date. Please see the submission guidelines below for details.

Advice for Writing and Compiling Materials for the Application Packet

Based on feedback from previous years' selection committees, here are some tips for students and faculty preparing an application packet:

  1. Both students and letter writers should keep in mind that they are writing for a general audience. These categories cover a broad range of programs and disciplines, so there is no guarantee that your material will be reviewed by someone from your specific field.
  2. Both students and letter writers should make it abundantly clear what the impact of the student's dissertation work is within the field. Once again, keep in mind that your materials may be reviewed by someone outside your field. What may be obvious to you in terms of the work's impact may not be clear to the outside reviewer unless it is explicitly stated.
  3. Consider the abstract to be a professional text and include the appropriate citations.
  4. Provide a structure for this extended abstract, such as an introduction with an objective, the aims or goals of the work, results and future work. You do not need to use this exact structure, but composing the abstract with sections and headings is highly recommended.
  5. While the abstract must be 10 pages or fewer of text, you are allowed to include additional information such as figures, tables, references and a brief CV. However, please make sure that all of these additional materials are necessary.

Submission Guidelines

All nomination materials for biological sciences category and humanities/fine arts students must be submitted electronically to Megan Tischner, c/o the Graduate School. Submit all materials together (in the same email or in the same shared cloud storage folder). Materials must be submitted by 5 p.m. on June 1, 2021. Incomplete and late submissions will be rejected, no exceptions.

Send nomination applications to Megan Tischner, via email attachment or shared cloud storage folder, at

Please direct questions to